This statement is issued on behalf of the President of the Agri Eastern Cape, Doug Stern

Agri Eastern Cape welcomes the Order, granted today in the Grahamstown High Court, where the NSPCA’s bid to interdict AL MAWASHI from loading and exporting sheep to the Middle East failed.

After having studied documents filed and hearing argument in this matter, the Court has permitted AL MAWASHI to load up to 56 000 sheep from their feedlot outside Berlin onto the AL MESSILAH livestock carrier, currently docked in the East London Harbour and transport them to destinations in the Middle East.

The Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development, as the competent authority were instructed to monitor the processes, to ensure compliance with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) guidelines and prescripts and which is standard procedure, which was previously also done.

Agri Eastern Cape has always maintained that the export of live animals by sea can be done in a humane and responsible manner giving due consideration to animal welfare. The worldwide practise of shipping live animals to address the food security concerns of food insecure nations, is the only practical method of ensuring an affordable quality animal protein source for these countries. The growth and expansion of this export industry is particularly important for the economy of the Eastern Cape and emerging farmer development, especially within the communal areas of our Province.

Based on the two previous shipments done by Al MAWASHI with extremely low mortality rates, well below Internationally accepted levels, it was always our view that the arguments presented by the NSPCA were not relevant to AL MAWASHI and the South African live animal export situation

The NSPCA need to re-evaluate their position and instead of focusing their attentions on areas where issues of animal welfare are also of paramount importance amongst industry role-players, they need to become more active in areas where wide scale animal abuse is intentionally being perpetrated on a daily basis.

Livestock and game farmers are buckling under the scourge of stock theft and illegal poaching with dog packs. As an organization we receive daily reports of animals butchered in large numbers, under the most horrific circumstances and packs of dogs being intentionally set amongst herds of game to maul and kill, often just as a sport.

When perpetrators are eventually apprehended, why are they never charged for contraventions under the Animal Protection Act? Surely this should be where the NSPCA’s focus should be instead of pursuing this one-sided vendetta against livestock farmers and the live animal export industry.

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